Sworn Virgin, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


When Hana's dying uncle calls her back from the city to the family home in the Albanian mountains, he tries to marry her to a local man who could run the household.

Unable to accept the arranged marriage and determined to remain independent, Hana's only option is to follow tradition and vow to live the rest of her life in chastity as a man - and so Hana becomes Mark.

For a sworn virgin, there is no way back.Years later, Mark - now a raki-drinking, chain-smoking shepherd - receives an invitation to join a cousin in the US.

This may be Mark's only chance to escape his vow. But what does he know about being an American woman?


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A fascinating book taking as its base the tradition of communities in Albania (fading out now) to allow a woman to become a "sworn virgin" - that is, dress and work like a man, have all rights afforded to men in the society - the only thing is that they cannot marry and cannot have sexual relations. This particular story follow Hana/Mark Doda - showing her life before and after she becomes a sworn virgin and examining how she adjusts after emigrating to America and taking back her female identify. I knew nothing about this practice before reading this book so I found it truly fascinating. A lovely translation - very natural and flowing and it helped to keep some of the words/concepts in Albanian and then explain them in notes at the end of the book. #ElviraDones #SwornVirgin

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